City collection Verhaal van Rotterdam

The city collection of Rotterdam comes to life

Unfolding across a 66-metre window display, a new pop-up exhibition tells the story of
Rotterdam through over a hundred artefacts from the Netherlands’ largest historical city collection (containing 115,000 items). Despite there currently being no city museum to showcase these unique pieces, beautiful images, and moving stories, this exhibition’s setting perfectly encapsulates Rotterdam’s spirit. Situated alongside the Nieuwe Maas River, bridging the city’s North and South, this exhibition is free of charge for all to enjoy until December 31.

On display are the oldest outdoor bronze statue, namely of Erasmus, the largest collection of posters and clothing. These objects narrate not just the past but also the contemporary story of Rotterdam.

The exhibition ‘The story of’ is part of the ‘Ook van jou!’ (‘Yours too!’) campaign that ensures the city collection’s visibility as we progress towards a new Rotterdam city museum.

Prior presentations include pop-up exhibitions at Rotterdam Central Station, spotlighting 175 years of the Nieuwe Waterweg ship canal through ‘Doek van Holland ‘(‘Canvas of Holland’), and an architectural scaffolding installation by MVRDV. Also, a historical photo exhibition adorned the Maastunnel on King’s Day.

Nine showcases made of the City Collection

Job Taks and Jeroen Ketting, creative directors of Rotterdam’s Hunted.Agency, were asked as guest curators. They furnished the shop windows next to the Cruise Terminal (Wilhelminakade 701) with items from the collection. The result is a colourful, interactive exhibition full of tales about our city’s history.

The innovative storytelling brings the city collection and the Mass riverbank to life for a diverse audience. Rotterdam’s broad and long (now quite literally) story makes it belong to everyone!

In total there are nine showcases, each corresponding to theme in the city’s history. A piece of wood from the River Rotte’s dam, for example. The dam ensured the Rotta (the river’s former name) could grow into Rotterdam. Whale bones form a testament to Rotterdam’s wealth from whaling. The iconic Bear Helmet bij De Beren is a recent part of history.

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